Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

No More Temper Tantrums, Please

I’ve always said that the administration here at Georgetown is very willing to give students the university they want.

Trouble is, they don’t always know what that is.

When students rallied to fire Coach Esherick, administration complied.

When students went hungry for more appropriate wages for workers, the university (grudgingly) adjusted its pay scale.

But when students called for more affordable education, the Office of International Programs unveiled a new and improved study abroad plan – students would pay the same tuition for a fraction of the benefits. A fundraising scheme, by all accounts.

And when everyone agreed a varied education is the best one, the Program for Justice and Peace Studies elected not to renew the contract of a popular adjunct professor in the name of academic diversity.

What gives?

The disconnect between administration and student has grown into a full-out rift. Without the full support of university officials, programs that are designed to enable students to act as administrators are largely failures. A study found dangerous party behavior is still on the rise, despite three years of the FRIENDS Initiative. GUSA’s best intentions rarely materialize into real change. Where GUSA does succeed is often in the trivial – are carry-out lunches really the landmark decision of an autonomous student body? It’s half-hearted attempts to empower students that create a dangerously complacent campus.

Perhaps the separation is a function of the fact that – more often than not – administration agenda supercedes that of even the most militant student group. Talk of endowment is so prevalent that one might forget that Georgetown is a place of learning and not just a branded, fundraising-obsessed machine. Though a big draw for future students, the new performing arts center wasn’t at the top of most current students’ wish list. In the midst of rankings and reputation and tuition rates, it seems like our administration sometimes forgets that there are students here at all.

It was clear that the old housing system wasn’t working, but when it came to revamp the selection process, no one who actually chose their housing through the system was consulted. What resulted was a procedure that made in even less sense – what college student knows in October what his or her needs will be the following September? This question begs another: What good is a change if the change is no good?

It’s sad to think that in order to effect any change in this university – our university – we have to stage a rally – a la Esherick – or a Solidarity-inspired hunger strike. Shouldn’t it be easier? Are grown-up temper tantrums the only way to make our voices heard?

It’s a new year, with new buildings and new students. It’s time to change the way we make changes. Students should seek active roles in university decisions; administration should actively seek students with the insight and experience to make these decisions more conducive to a productive learning and cooperative living environment.

Students need a say in the decisions that change their daily lives. A process that allows this might even affect administration’s favorite topic: endowment. Students who are active in decision making are satisfied with the outcome. And, as we are all oft-reminded, happy students make for generous alumni.

Chrissy A. Balz is a junior in the College and features editor of THE HOYA.

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